Julie Andrews And Her Inspiring Life Underdog Story
Most of us all love a good underdog story. Of course, that is why it is the plot behind so many movies. In this case, though, the underdog is real. Julie Andrews may be an actress, but there was no story-line for her life struggles.
Some people think it is easier to pick the favorites in a given story and back them wholeheartedly. But, honestly, most people do not tend to do this. Instead, they choose to back the underdog. We like to root for the person that has their back against the wall. Evidently, we do this not because we like backing the losers–but because we like to see a team, or a person, beat the odds. Underdogs are people that inspire change. They influence you to keep trying and strive even harder to reach your dreams.
If you are an underdog, most people doubt you. Sometimes, even the most important people doubt you or your capabilities. For Julie Andrews, these are very relatable themes. Andrews is an actress who has starred in some of the most iconic films. Some films you probably know include The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. She has a career that anyone would be proud of, but, it did not come easily. If you are interested in learning more about Julie Andrews, keep reading this article.
A Child Star In The United Kingdom
At the young age of 10, Andrews began singing with her pianist mother and singer stepfather in their music-hall act. Already, Julie showed a remarkably powerful voice with perfect pitch to match. Andrews made her professional stage debut at just 12 years old. At the time, she was performing in a musical revue at the London Hippodrome. During this period, she performed a screen test for a British entertainment company.
However, the studio turned her down, saying she was “unfilmable.” Now, we know, this was a big mistake.
Despite the company’s rejection, Julie Andrews perservered. She took her stage success from England and brought it to America. In 1956, Julie starred opposite Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle. The role earned her a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a musical.
Andrews’ performance is universally acclaimed, and the production became one of the biggest hits in Broadway history. My Fair Lady was also a huge success in Britain. Andrews continued to work following My Fair Lady, with another lead role in Camelot in 1960, for which she was nominated for a second Tony Award.
As Andrews continued stage acting, it seemed that the success of My Fair Lady was her chance to transfer to the big screen. However, Julie Andrews was rejected once again. Instead, the role was given to Aubrey Hepburn. Even with all of her stage success, Julie Andrews still had a hard time breaking through. Despite these discouraging moments, she never stopped chasing her dreams of being on screen.
Big Screen Success
Finally, Julie Andrews made the leap from stage to film stardom in 1964. As you may have guessed, Andrews rise to stardom came with the lead role in Mary Poppins. Julie quickly became everyone’s favorite magical, loving nanny.
The picture became one of Disney’s biggest moneymakers. Andrews won both a Grammy and an Academy Award for her performance as Mary Poppins.
The following year, Julie Andrew’s portrayal of Maria in The Sound of Music (1965) was one of the top-grossing films of all time.
Her performance in The Sound of Music earned Andrews another Academy Award nomination. In fact, both Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music were so successful, that they brought Andrews international stardom. The two films remain popular and are considered the best of classical films.
Julie Andrews reprised her Victor/Victoria role on Broadway in 1995. However, she stirred up controversy when she refused to accept a Tony nomination for her performance. While most of us think this is crazy, it is actually a testament to who Andrews was as an actress and a teammate.
Because she was the only nomination at the awards, Andrews felt that the rest of the cast and crew, including directors of the show, had been “egregiously overlooked.”
Loss of Identity
At this point in her career, Julie Andrews proved herself to be a versatile actress–on and off the screen. She excelled in both comedy and drama roles, and of course any role that involved singing. After returning to the stage for the play of Victor/Victoria, Andrews experienced vocal issues.
After experiencing vocal issues, Andrews discovered there were lesions on her vocal cords. As she was always a hardworking performer, she felt obliged to do what she could do to go on tour and provide the best performance she could. As a result, in 1997, Andrews underwent an operation on her vocal cords at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
After the surgery, she lost almost her entire vocal range. It was especially upsetting, as Julie Andrews was under the impression that there would be no risk in the surgery.
“I went into a depression, it felt like I’d lost my identity.”
Without any second thoughts, Andrews filed a lawsuit against the hospital and her doctors by 1999. The following year a settlement was reached, but her incredible vocal range was lost forever.
How Julie Andrews Moved On
The actress still regrets the surgery, but the amazing thing is, she found new ways to move be successful. She admits that she will always miss singing, but she has still enjoyed her acting career.
With time to heal, Andrews eventually made peace with the loss of her voice:
“I thought my voice was my stock-in-trade, my talent, my soul,” she stated in an interview. “And I had to finally come to the conclusion that it wasn’t the only thing that I was made of.”
Andrews has continued to reach audiences through new acting roles and embraced a writing career. Fifty years after playing the iconic part of Maria in The Sound of Music, she noted that the film got it right:
“A door closes and a window opens.”
Andrews continued to act as in films such as The Princess Diaries (2001) and its’ sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement (2004). Andrews even learned to sing songs that fit her new limited vocal range.
She also narrated the fantasy Enchanted (2007) and provided the voice of the queen in several of the animated Shrek films (2004, 2007, and 2010). In addition, Andrews voiced characters in Despicable Me (2010), Despicable Me 3 (2017), and Aquaman (2018).
A New Career
Julie Andrews has started a new journey by starting a book publishing company with her daughter. Together, they have written several children books. Julie even has an autobiography called “Home: A Memoir of My Early Hollywood Years”. She will be returning to our screens in Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix series “Bridgerton” which premiered on Christmas Day of 2020.
In 2011, the icon won a Grammy Award for Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies, a spoken-word album for children, and she was honored with a special Grammy for her lifetime achievements.
Julie Andrews is an underdog that kept pushing, even when Hollywood didn’t give her the chance at first. The crucial takeaway here is that she kept on trying; and because of that, she is forever an icon. We can learn so many things from Julie; we have to push through and take a few risks, even when what you originally wanted is not where you end up. As we go through things in life, we will have to adapt. But, you don’t just have to adapt. You can create success in an entirely different way, just like Julie Andrews did. It is tough to be an underdog, but we are rooting for you. Your potential future lies in how you can make the best of it.